Take the Leap: Your Inspiration Is Waiting (But it Won’t Wait Forever!)

August 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm 2 comments

take the leap

This past spring, I had the unbelievable good fortune to be asked to interview 10 pioneering training industry leaders—dubbed the “legends” in the industry at the ISA-The Association of Learning Providers Annual Business Retreat—about their careers, motivations and staying power.

The interviews formed the basis for an article in this summer’s issue of Training Magazine. From Don Schrello, literally a rocket scientist, telling me how he “fell into” a new career in training after working on the Apollo program to Ken Blanchard’s tales of his winding road of ups and downs on the way to becoming one of the preeminent minds in leadership, the stories were, yes, the stuff of legend, but also in a way, completely relatable, even humble.

Pat McLagan may have been Board Chair of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, but she wanted to tell me about a teenage job she had peeling potatoes. Gradually over the course of our conversation, the picture of how she got from potato-peeler to one of the most distinguished and honored women in her field became clear.

We worry we have to have it all figured out. The plan. The clear path from Point A to Point B. But what I discovered in these interviews (was relieved to discover!) is that it’s ultimately more important to make sure you’re prepared and open and ready to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. That you don’t get trapped by what you think you’re supposed to do or what the next rung on the ladder is supposed to look like.

I see so many people stagnating in jobs they hate or stuck going in every day to companies and workplaces that are draining their souls. (And if you think I’m talking about you, then I am.) It’s difficult, especially in today’s world, to make the decision that inertia is not the best choice. But it takes over and keeps you from taking advantage of possibilities. You think you have to have that straight line to the next chapter, and that’s just not always the case. In fact, especially in today’s world, it’s not the case.

I sometimes say I was lucky because I made the decision to go out on my own right before the bottom fell out of the market. It gave me a leg-up on the eventual onslaught of newly laid-off professionals hanging a shingle and hoping to get some business to stay afloat. But the stars had been aligning themselves for me all along the way—I just didn’t realize it at the time. And if I hadn’t made the leap when I did, they would have just gone on without me.

You know the Steve Jobs quote. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” It’s certainly been true for me.

You might as well go ahead and take the leap. Take it while the opportunity is there for you.


Entry filed under: Inspiration, Writing. Tags: , , .

Only in Downtown Nashville Sunland

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anita Morrill  |  August 9, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Great article, Marla! Your timing is uncanny…..I’ve shared it with Steve:) Hopefully it will offer him a little insight and encouragement.

    • 2. marlainkontheside  |  August 9, 2012 at 10:44 am

      Thanks, Anita! This post seems to have really struck a chord. Tell Steve to go with his gut…he’ll land on his feet. 🙂


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